The Heart Sutra is usually considered a member of the Perfection of Wisdom (PrajÃ±ÄpÄramitÄ) class of MahÄyÄna Buddhist literature, and along with the Diamond Sutra, is considered by many to be the primary representative of the genre. It consists of just 14 shlokas or verses in Sanskrit and 260 Chinese characters in the most prevalent Chinese version, Taisho Tripitaka Vol. T08 No. 251, translated by Xuan Zang. This makes it one of the most highly abbreviated versions of the Perfection of Wisdom texts, texts which exist in various lengths up to and including 100,000 slokas.
Geshe Ngawang Dakpa was born in Central Tibet. At the age of ten he entered Orbak Monastery. He was ordained as a novice monk at 13. In 1953, he entered Sera. After 1959 he continued his studies at the Sanskrit University in Benares (Varanasi), where he earned an M.A. with honors. He taught Tibetan at the University of Sikkim, where he stayed for 20 years before returning to Sera Je monastery in South India to gain his Geshe degree.